Indulging in a piece of chocolate or eating your favorite food is sure to make you smile, at least temporarily. But experts say you can actually extend those feelings of joy by eating certain foods. “There is a food-mood connection,” explains nutritional psychiatrist Dr. Uma Naidoo. “Any changes you make in your diet won’t boost happiness overnight, but they will have an impact over time.”
So what’s on the menu for long-lasting happiness? Experts recommend these foods:
- Turmeric - Curcumin, the active ingredient that gives this spice its yellow color, has been shown to have antidepressant effects. To get the biggest impact, Naidoo recommends using a quarter teaspoon of turmeric daily and adding a pinch of black pepper, which she says makes the curcumin 2-thousand percent more bioavailable.”
- Kombucha - This popular fermented tea can actually improve your mood. It’s loaded with probiotics and the live microorganisms and research shows they have antidepressant effects. Dr. Drew Ramsey, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University says other fermented foods, like tempeh, miso, kimchi and sauerkraut can have a similar mood-boosting effect.
- Cinnamon - This spice is full of antioxidants, combats inflammation and protects against neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, Naidoo says. And research has found it also has a positive effect on mood.
- Salmon - This fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and a diet high in those has been linked to a lower risk of depression. Salmon is also high in vitamin B12, which is associated with positive mood and may even help ward off depression.
- Leafy greens - Kale, spinach and other leafy greens have high amounts of magnesium, which can boost serotonin, the so-called happiness hormone.
- Yogurt - Thanks to all the probiotics it contains, yogurt is good for the gut and your mood.
- Legumes - Beans, peas and lentils also have high levels of magnesium, fiber, folate and omega-3s and the fewer legumes you eat, the higher the risk of depression is.
- Almonds - They’re nutrient-rich and eating almonds regularly has been linked to lower rates of depression and improved mood.
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